Foundry issue: Clean air
The news story “McConway & Torley steel foundry under fire in trendy Lawrenceville” confuses an issue that is fundamentally about how we can all work together to ensure the air we breathe in Lawrenceville is cleaner.
The foundry is putting toxic pollutants into the air that can make people sick. The Allegheny County Health Department took the rare step of putting a monitor at the fence line of the company due to public concern over these emissions. It also drafted a strong permit based on updated emissions calculations. Whether permit conditions are met (and cleaner air is achieved) through additional emissions controls or production limits is up to the company.
Based on 2013 reported emissions, McConway & Torley was the third largest source in the county of benzene, a carcinogen, and manganese, a neurotoxin. It also emits large amounts of soot, which causes respiratory and cardiovascular disease. And many children and older adults — who are particularly vulnerable to air pollution — are breathing all of that in.
This discussion should be about how we can work together to protect the community’s health. When we are pitted against each other, the pollution continues — and we all lose.
The writer is executive director of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (gasp-pgh.org), based in Garfield.